Social Media and Femvertising

This post was written as part of my Digital Media Assignment at University

With an increase in PR activity turning digital, and a demand for not just engaging content – but specifically video content, brands are having to think of new creative ways to engage with their brands.
There is a requirement for brands to “stand for something larger than their products” whilst utilizing the conversational style of social media and the shareability of video content; Welcome “Femvertising”  - a trend of combining creative video content and social media to show a deeper level to brands beyond product pushing.

Dove arguably started this ‘revolution’ in 2004 with their ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, opening up the conversation about Female Empowerment in modern society. The buzz around this video content has naturally led to the growth of the brand and has since inspired other brands to get in on the hype.
Whilst primarily these have been from female focused cosmetic and toiletries brands such as Always’ “#LikeAGirl” video campaign and Pantene’s #SorryNotSorry/#ShineStrong campaign, other female focused brands like the Sheryl Sandberg organization created the “#BanBossy” video viral to engage and empower their audience.

On a positive note, it means that campaigns relying on negative gender stereotypes are becoming redundant and empowering women is a new blossoming trend.

“Advertising geared towards millennials who value passion, sincerity and social justice, is a whole new ball game.” With the Always advert being viewed more than 52 million times on YouTube, it is unsurprising that other brands are becoming eager to “attach themselves to a social movement”, stirring emotion in viewers and thus ultimately increasing product sales.

Naturally there are pros and cons, primarily ethical, attached to these kinds of campaigns. Do these videos make us forget about the “ethical complications that exist in corporations?” Buying these brands doesn’t make us more socially responsible and active and we can’t change the world through consumption. And let us not forget advertising is guilty of portraying women in a sexist light in the first place!

But, from a PR Perspective, the success of these viral videos is extremely desirable. But what is making these campaigns so successful?
Firstly, the content is honest and inspiring and focuses on storytelling. We are seeing more and more that story telling sells, and stories “pathe the way for conversations to spark and brand loyalty to begin.” These stories provoke emotion in viewers and do so even better by authentically pulling on those “nostalgic heartstrings.” They, in effect, “hold a mirror to society” and allow all women to see themselves in the video.
It is, however, important that brands thoroughly research their audience and ensure their causes align with the passions of their consumer base to secure engagement with their campaign.

I believe we are going to see more of this cause attached video content in the future, as consumers become detached to product pushing and the desire to publically associate themselves with “good deeds” on social media grows. Whilst actually making social change for gender equality would require a wider non-female audience, Femvertising and emotive video content in general is proving to be perfect for creating brand loyalty and customer engagement.

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